This post is part of a series about European Poker Regulation
Poker is legal in Hungary, but only as part of land based casino operations by approved licensees in the country. Gambling online is not allowed in Hungary, and with it also poker, as things stand today close to 90 different legal online poker sites in Europe are banned in the country, even the biggest poker brands like Pokerstars & Paddy Power. Luckily for the poker players in the country online regulation is in its final stages and is expected to be approved later this year. Unfortunately for them, the poker laws in Hungary are a mixed blessing, and essentially continue the monopoly already present in the country.
Poker, defined as a casino activity in HUngary, is limited to land based casino play and Hungary only allows 11 licenses in total – of which only 8 are currently used. For a nation of 10 million citizens this effectively creates a monopoly that holds control over all gambling. The current law was not drafted with online play in mind, new revisions set to be approved this year will open up this industry in 2016.
Hungary Poker in 2016
Hungarian legal online casino operations are a close reality, and the reason is obvious: tax revenue. The Gambling regulation presented however will continue the gambling monopoly in the country thus continuing to limit the options for poker players in Hungary. Of the 8 groups that hold a land based license only 3 have shown interest in creating a presence online, but similar regulations in other countries have caused joint ventures between online and land based operators which should hopefully mean that Hungarian poker players will have more than 3 options. The silver lining here is that Hungary will not ring-fence its player base and the new law allows any legal EU entity to apply.
2016 looks to be the year where poker goes back to being a welcome side income in Hungary, but be careful about the deal you close because you probably won’t have many options to switch and get different bonuses or deals